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Charles Taylor guilty: Judgment Excerpts

salve http://consumermedsafety.org/media/widgetkit/widgets/twitter/twitter.php geneva;”>The Thursday judgment, http://cikza.com/wp-admin/includes/admin-filters.php from judges at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, http://cerlalc.org/wp-includes/class-feed.php saw him found guilty beyond reasonable doubt in connection with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Here are key excerpts from the 44-page summary of the judgment. The full written judgment is not yet available.

The findings relate solely to the “indictment period” – the period from November 1996 to January 2002 when the events took place over which Taylor was charged.

The Accused emphasized to [rebel leader] Bockarie the need to… make the operation ‘fearful’”

Judgment details the assistance provided by Taylor to the renegade Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) junta during their operations to retake important districts and cities in Sierra Leone in 1998 and 1999, after they were thrown out by the Ecomog West African intervention force.

From the time of the Ecomog Intervention, the Accused and his subordinates communicated to the AFRC/RUF forces the imperative to maintain control over Kono, a diamondiferous area… Once Kono had been recaptured, the Accused told [RUF/AFRC leader Sam] Bockarie to be sure to maintain control of Kono for the purpose of trading diamonds with him for arms and ammunition. …

In addition to urging the RUF and AFRC to capture and hold Kono, the Accused supplied arms and ammunition for the operations in the Kono District in early 1998 and for Operation Fitti-Fatta [an attempt to re-take Koidu Town]. …

DECEMBER 1998

In November/December 1998, when Bockarie met with the Accused in Monrovia, the Accused jointly designed with Bockarie the two-pronged attack on Kono, Kenema and Freetown… the Accused emphasised to Bockarie the need to first attack Kono District and told Bockarie to make the operation “fearful” in order to pressure the Government of Sierra Leone into negotiations on the release of Foday Sankoh from prison, as well as to use “all means” to get to Freetown. Subsequently, Bockarie named the operation “Operation No Living Thing,” implying that anything that stood in their way should be eliminated.

Bockarie was in frequent contact via radio or satellite phone with the Accused in December 1998 and January 1999… However, it is not clear that the Accused had any level of control over the conduct of these operations. …

In addition to planning and advising on the Kono-Freetown operation, the Accused also provided military and other support… The Accused also sent personnel. …

Operation support: In addition to support for specific military operations, the Accused provided to the RUF, and the RUF/AFRC alliance, communications support, financial support, military training, technical support and other operational support. Of these, communications support, facilitation and transport of materiel and personnel and the provision of a guesthouse to the RUF were sustained and significant. …

The RUF guesthouse provided a base for the RUF in Monrovia, which facilitated the regular transfers of arms and ammunition from the Accused to the RUF, as well as diamonds from the RUF to the Accused, transactions which played a vital role in the military operations of the RUF in which crimes were committed. …

Herbalists

AIR TRANSPORT

The Trial Chamber further finds that during the Indictment period, the Accused provided much needed road and air transportation to the RUF of arms and ammunition into RUF territory. Materiel was also escorted across military checkpoints by security personnel working for the Accused… [playing] a vital role in the operations of the RUF/AFRC during a period when an international arms embargo was in force. …

The Accused also provided financial support, military training, technical support and other operational support to the RUF, including medical support. …

In preparation for the Fitti-Fatta mission in mid-1998, the Accused sent ‘herbalists’ who marked fighters in Buedu and in Kono in order to bolster their confidence for the mission to recapture Kono. Other support included the provision of goods such as food, clothing, cigarettes, alcohol and other supplies to the RUF by the Accused. …

Arms and Ammunition:

The Accused directly supplied arms and ammunition to the RUF/AFRC, as well as facilitating the supply of arms and ammunition to the RUF/AFRC from outside Liberia. …

The Accused facilitated two large shipments of ammunition. The first occurred in late 1997. In around September 1997, the Accused sent [Liberian emissary] Ibrahim Bah to Freetown to meet with Sam Bockarie and [AFRC junta leader] Johnny Paul Koroma to make arrangements for the procurement of arms and ammunition. Bah was given 90 carats of diamonds and US$ 90,000 to pay for the shipment. … Materiel from this shipment was used by the AFRC/RUF forces in fighting Ecomog and SLPP [Sierra Leone People’s Party] forces in Freetown before, during and after the Intervention, in the Junta mining operations at Tongo Fields prior to the Ecomog Intervention, in “Operation Pay Yourself” and subsequent offensives on Kono, as well as in the commission of crimes during those operations. …

‘Critical’ arms

The Accused also facilitated a shipment of materiel around November 1998 from Burkina Faso [which was transported to Sierra Leone]… The Trial Chamber finds that the Accused was instrumental in procuring and transporting this large quantity of arms and ammunition for the RUF, that he was paid for it with diamonds, and that he kept some of the shipment for his own purposes. The shipment from Burkina Faso was unprecedented in volume and, as noted previously, was critical in the December 1998 and January 1999 offensives. …

The Trial Chamber considered the Defence submission that other sources of military equipment for the RUF and AFRC far outweighed supplies allegedly provided by the Accused… However, these sources of materiel were of minor importance in comparison to those supplied or facilitated by the Accused… The materiel provided or facilitated by the Accused was critical in enabling the operational strategy of the RUF and the AFRC during the Indictment period. …

Military Personnel:

As previously noted, approximately 20 former NPFL [Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia] fighters who had been integrated into the Armed Forces of Liberia… were sent by the Accused from Liberia to Sierra Leone where they joined the RUF/AFRC forces in Sierra Leone and participated in attacks in which crimes were committed.

Diamonds:

The Trial Chamber finds that there was a continuous supply by the AFRC/RUF of diamonds mined from areas in Sierra Leone to the Accused, often in exchange for arms and ammunition. …

45-carat diamond

In March 2000, Foday Sankoh visited South Africa and travelled through Monrovia on his way back to Sierra Leone, meeting with the Accused in Monrovia. According to one witness, among the diamonds delivered to the Accused during this meeting were a 45 carat diamond and two 25 carat diamonds. …

The Accused also provided diesel fuel for the Caterpillars at the diamond mining sites in Sierra Leone, and equipment for use in mining diamonds to the RUF on at least one occasion between 1998 and 2002. …

The Peace Process:

The Trial Chamber… finds that while the Accused publicly played a substantial role in the Sierra Leone peace process… secretly he was fuelling hostilities between the AFRC/RUF and the democratically elected authorities in Sierra Leone, by urging the former not to disarm and actively providing them with arms and ammunition, acting, as the Prosecution described, as “a two-headed Janus”.

Knowledge of the Accused of Crimes Committed in Sierra Leone: Based on [the] evidence, and the testimony of the Accused himself, the Trial Chamber finds that the Accused was aware of the crimes committed by RUF/AFRC forces against civilians, including murder, abduction of civilian including children, rape, amputation and looting, as early as August 1997 when he became President of Liberia.

No ‘command and control’

The Trial Chamber is of the view that the Accused had substantial influence over the leadership of the RUF, and to a lesser extent that of the AFRC. However, that substantial influence over the conduct of others fell short of “effective command and control” as demonstrated by the evidence.

…while the Trial Chamber found that the Accused provided significant operational and military support to the RUF, particularly after he became President of Liberia, the evidence does not establish that this support was provided pursuant to a common plan in the context of a joint criminal enterprise.

Responsibility under Article 6(1) for Aiding and Abetting: “Aiding and abetting” requires that the accused gave practical assistance, encouragement, or moral support which had a substantial effect on the perpetration of a crime.

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